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West Texas Legislators Sit Down In Odessa To Give An Update On The State's Latest Legislative Session

By Mitch Borden

Texas' 86th legislative session recently came to a close and the West Texas lawmakers state senator Kel Seliger, representatives Tom Craddick and Brooks Landgraf sat down in Odessa to reflect on what was accomplished.

At a legislative update held at the Odessa Country Club earlier this week, the three men described their triumphs and also their frustrations during their time in Austin.

They all were happy with how productive this session was and highlighted specific policies to fix education funding, cap property taxes, and to protect infrastructure. When asked if the state is making the Permian Basin a priority though, Midland representative Tom Craddick said he’s not seeing a lot of progress on that front. Without more help from the state, he doesn't know how the region will overcome some of its largest problems.

“The needs here in education, for housing, I don’t see the answer to these things at this point without the state somehow getting involved.”

Odessa's representative Brooks Landgraf also admitted the outside perception of the Permian Basin is an issue.

According to him, “You know, everybody is perfectly fine taking all the benefits of oil and gas production. You know taking that severance tax money and taking the jobs that come along with it. But, they don’t see the cost that’s associated with that for us who live out here in the oil patch.”

Landgraf thinks this could change in the future though. He’s routinely brought out lawmakers from other parts of the state to see first hand the problems the region is facing. Landgraf also said if lawmakers can drill down on quality of life issues in the Permian Basin, such as public safety, transportation, and housing, the region will begin to see these challenges begin to improve.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.